An interview with Pastor Andrew Courtis

In recent weeks, Hills Bible Church has welcomed a new full time pastor: Andrew Courtis. Andrew arrived in Melbourne with his family in early August. Readers will have noted the blog contribution from Andrew a matter of days ago, and I thought it would be appropriate to introduce Andrew by way of interviewing him. After speaking at length with his agent, and finally negotiating a fee and a 10 minute slot, I sat down with Andrew and lived up to my reputation as a hard-nut interrogator.** The results are below.

Welcome to the Hills Bible Church blog, Andrew. You’re new here! Where have you come from?

Thanks Simon. We are new! As a family (married to Di with three children) we have recently moved from Sydney where I served as associate Pastor of St Johns Park Baptist Church and interim pastor of Smithfield Baptist Church. Prior to that, I ministered at Grace Community Bible Church in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

Tell us a bit about your background. Where did you grow up? What about your family, and church background?

I was born and raised in Melbourne and am from a family of ten children (I’m number four). Growing up I was taught the Scriptures but it wasn’t until my mid teen years when I come to saving faith in Christ. My church background has been Baptistic. Regarding my schooling, I moved to Adelaide when I was 18 to undertake theological studies (BMin) and it was there I meet my wonderful wife Di (who originates from the great city of Geelong). [Interviewer nods approvingly regarding Geelong.] In addition to that I did a teaching degree (GradDipEd) and have just recently completed my masters with the Australian College of Theology (MATh).

When did you feel called to enter Christian ministry?

Soon after my conversion (around 16) my dad gave me a box of audiocassettes of sermons. After a few months of listening to good preaching and studying God’s word I was compelled to go to Bible College to prepare for pastoral ministry. The Lord provided a few opportunities for me to start preaching when I was 16 and 17 in Presbyterian and Baptist Churches. I began to learn the seriousness of preaching God’s word and the need to be faithful in this task. When I was 18 Dad put me in the car and drove me to Adelaide (my parents were very supportive) so as to enrol me in full time theological studies at Adelaide College of Ministries.

What would you say are your ‘theological distinctives’? Labels aren’t always popular, but perhaps you could give yourself one or two?

As a Christian I am committed to faithfully studying, applying and explaining God’s word. In doing this there are some distinctives that I believe are indeed biblical. Recognising that labels are not always popular, they can be helpful. For this reason I would unashamedly call myself a Calvinist, a Baptist and a Premillennialist.

Who are the most influential figures in your life and ministry?

Looking back over the year, the Lord has graciously brought many godly individuals into my life (some I have met, others I have read or listened to). It is too difficult to provide an exhaustive list knowing that I would miss out some. But here are some figures that have had a profound influence on my understanding of Scripture: Charles Spurgeon, Louis Berkhof, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, S Lewis Johnson, Iain Murray, John MacArthur, Phil Johnson, Albert Mohler and R C Sproul.

There’s a strong ‘reformed’ theme in your answers. Do you see reformed theology as important for the church in Melbourne?

I do. The reason I believe this to be the case is because reformed theology stresses the authority of God’s word. It stresses a high view of God (His sovereignty over all things). It exalts the glory and person of God and reveals the power of God in salvation. These things are biblical and must be taught and proclaimed. This of course is necessary for every city.

What are your pet theological topics? I see you have a post coming up on heaven, and you’ve done a thesis on . Are you an eschatology nerd, like me?

My greatest passion is studying God’s word and preaching through it systematically in an expository manner. However, as I do that I am always confronted with theological topics in the text and as a result some of them become what you call “pet theological topics.” This of course can change depending on what I am studying at the time. For me these are: The Doctrine of Christ, the Doctrine of Salvation, the Doctrine of Scripture and the Doctrine of Last Things. Am I an eschatology nerd? I do wear glasses and love the doctrine of end times, so perhaps I fit that description! Having recently spent around fifty Sundays in my former church in Sydney working verse-by-verse through the book of Revelation my love and passion for eschatology has majorly increased. My desire for heaven has also greatly expanded. I am Premillennial, but what I am most passionate about is the return of the King and being with Him and like Him when he is revealed ()!

What is your vision for our church going forward?

It is my privilege to be called of the Lord to serve as pastor of Hills Bible Church. For this reason I view my call and ministry with great seriousness. My desire for our church is that it would be a church that is committed to the word of God. I desire to see God’s people at Hills mature in Christ (), serving Christ
() and proclaiming Christ ( a). As we submit to His word and grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, we entrust ourselves to the One who promised to build His church (). By His grace, we will make an impact on our city and beyond to His glory. I would value your prayers as I strive to be faithful in this task.

** Pastor Andrew does not actually have an agent, and the interview was conducted via email without any fee or delay. I have never conducted an interview like this  before, and therefore have no reputation to uphold.

20:1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.

28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

10 thoughts on “An interview with Pastor Andrew Courtis”

  1. Simon, you conduct a great interview with good humour. You now have a reputation to live up to.

  2. Good stuff !
    Simon, I’m sure you’ll have some interesting conversations with Andrew about your views on eschatology?

    1. Thanks Alex. Good to hear from you again. Yes, I’m sure we will have some interesting discussions!

  3. Wonderful interview! Thanks for sharing it. I want you to know that there are people here in the US that are excited about your new ministry at Hills Bible Church and we are praying for you and the congregation! May our Lord richly bless your ministry there!

    1. Hi Dr Street – thank you for your great encouragement and support in prayer. We look forward to your next visit to Australia and to introducing you to all at Hills Bible Church. Maybe the children will have another song for you!

  4. Hi Andrew. We love both you and your family. Sounds like Hills Bible Church has found itself a wonderful pastor. May God’s continued blessing be on you as you continue to serve Him and shepherd His flock.

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